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Making PE fun

Fencing with Noodles
JH students practice fencing with pool noodles and cardboard shield "plastrons" - a COVID-friendly unit in PE.
Students in PE at Sherrard Junior High had a unique lesson recently - when they learned the sport of fencing.

“It was really neat. So far they’ve done really well,” said PE teacher Paula Zigler.

“I find it really interesting to be learning this in PE. I feel like it’s a very good sport - other than softball and soccer and stuff like that,” said 8th grader Violet Householder. 
She said she’s thankful Zigler has found creative ways to engage the students - a difficult task, since pandemic guidelines mean no games can be played using shared equipment, or that require the use of a ball that travels from player to player.

Householder said she's just glad to be at school, “I feel like at home you get more distracted than you would at school.” She said it’s easier for her to stay focused in school, “At home you have distractions, animals, the tv might be on… I feel like in-person is better than at home.”

Zigler said before this unit she knew nothing about fencing. She got the idea from an online teacher’s group, “So I just reached out and said, ‘Can you send me some information about it, I’ve never done it, I think it would be awesome for this year.’”

Joe Herzog, a retired teacher from California, shared a packet of information with her, “I did my own research and incorporated what he gave me - and we got the pool noodles from our Amazon list (donations), and put it together,” she said.

Students created their own, “Plastron”, a garment worn for safety - using cardboard cutouts. They discussed and used french terms like, “Salute”, and “En garde”.

According to Zigler the duals were, “6 touches or 5 minutes” - a shortened version of the original, which is - 15 touches or 9  minutes. At the end of each period noodles were sanitized.

Other units Junior High PE teachers Zigler and Brandon Oelmann taught were, Bags, and Dance. They’re planning to also do Jump Rope and Lacrosse.

Winners for tournament style fencing competitions from each hour were:

Congratulations to Mrs. Zigler's Fencing Unit 1st and 2nd place winners:

1st Hour: Ava Egel and Lyvia Ferry
2nd Hour: Megan Mackin and Mariah Covey
4th Hour: Jasmin McDaniel and Jenna Szymborski
5th Hour: Jasmyn McCray and Kirra Short
7th Hour: Brady Peterson and Matthew Breitenstein
Cala Smoldt, Communications Coordinator